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Elizabeth's story: 'A bit of headspace'

I’ve only been coming since April. My friends have been coming for years, so they told me about it. It’s good because I retired at the end of March, and it gives me something to get up for in the morning. Not that my retiral is bad in any way, I’m absolutely loving it, and I’ve got loads to do. But this is the only group I come to that’s early in the morning. So I get up and I come out and it’s been really nice to see all the different woods around Cumbernauld. It’s good to get a bit of exercise, learn more about nature. Some sessions I really enjoyed; the one we walked through all the bluebells, when all the bluebells were out, it was just magical. And even last week we were in the Cumbernauld Glen, and we stopped for tea, and it was just so peaceful, and the river was bubbling away, and it was lovely. It gives you a bit of headspace. You focus on nice things, instead of all the horrible things that are going on everywhere. 

It’s another way for me to connect with my friends, because I wouldn’t be seeing them a lot otherwise. And yeah, it’s nice hearing everybody else’s wee chats here and there as you go along. I don’t always chat though. Sometimes I come and I’m like too tired, or I’m just not feeling very well, and so I tend maybe those days just to do the walk and not really engage much with people. The majority of the group I would say are quite quiet people. I think a lot of that is to do with just enjoying the actual nature, and that’s enough for some people. Sometimes that’s enough for me. 

When I heard about how the group originally got started, I thought that was great because my previous job was a support worker for people with mental health problems. I worked in a different council, but if I had been working here, I would have tried to get folk down here, down to this group. I could just see how it would have helped some of them.  

The previous guy that ran it, Paul, he made it fun sometimes. Oh, he was full of nonsense [laughter], he was full of tall tales. And the day that we had his leaving do, it was one night in the Cumbernauld Glen, and it was just really nice, he gave us all a certificate, and we all got a fairy wish in a wee bottle with a little nature message on it. Something about taking nature into your heart. 

I really find Camilo fascinating, and I’m really enjoying his time here. I had just a passing interesting in fungi, but him pointing out all the many many types has been quite interesting. And all his knowledge of the trees as well, and the rarer trees, and stuff I’ve never heard of, it’s been quite interesting. It’s just lovely. I like his nice, gentle approach as well. It’s just very pleasant, very calming. You get to leave your troubles behind while you’re here. Camilo does that thing where you have to stop and just be in the moment, and that’s good, that makes you really focus on not just what’s around about you but focus on how you’re feeling about it. 

I’d always been fascinated about going into woods, but I’ve never been out in a wood on my own, I would never go in the wood on my own. But it’s been lovely having a group to do that with. It’s been a lovely safe way of doing that.

It’s been a very positive experience. 


This is part of the project 'Stories of nature connections' (

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Printed from /research/projects/elizabeths-story-bit-headspace on 01/12/23 09:55:00 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.